Sunday, 21 December 2014

Wargaming Terrain Mat from a blanket

I have wanted a portable gaming board for some time. A few years back I bought one of the plastic boards from GW, painted it up and flocked it and had a few battles on it. But it was very heavy and not really portable, the two foot squares in a zip bag still take up a considerable space in your cupboard. In the end, I sold it because it was too big for my small space, but of course then I had no playing area. I had high hopes for a kickstarter terrain set with one foot square tiles, but that was delayed by over a year and the storage solution originally promised never really materialised, so eventually I got a refund. Back to square one again.

I started to look around at what other gamers did, there are many blogs out there with different solutions, different materials and different price points. My main criteria were it had to be easy to set up and take down on my dining table, easy to store and (preferably) low cost. I was very impressed by some of the battle boards seen at show reports, especially those made from teddy fur - shaved and painted it can look very realistic. In the end, I went for the much simpler option of a fleece blanket and cheap poster paint.

The first photo shows the blanket on my dining room table, it's a 5x3 table rather than the more common 6x4 battle board,so more suitable for large skirmish games like Saga, but that's okay as that's what I play more of these days. The blanket is actually 5x4 and of course they can be bought in various sizes. I got mine from ebay for a mere £6, a brown coloured one to give me a basic earth colour backdrop to work on. It's quite cheap and thin, not really that good as an actual blanket I would have guessed, but perfect as a lightweight battle mat. I sprayed one side with dull yellow for a very simple desert/arid set up. The other side I painted with cheap poster paint, a tube each of green and yellow gave me many shades to work with at a cost of just £5. I applied the paints using a scouring pad, these can be picked up really cheaply from supermarkets, or pilfered from your kitchen cupboard. Adding in the spray can paint, I reckon the whole thing cost me about £15 and two or three hours of hobby time.

The second photo gives a more accurate rendition of the colours. I have deliberately made it lusher on one half, the more muddy half can be the location for a village, or damp ground, or whatever. The third photo shows the simple arid/desert side - anyone with a blanket and a spray can achieve this mottled effect. The paint has made the blanket a little stiffer, but it's still compact enough when folded to throw in a drawer. Now that I have a backdrop to work to, I am going to work on a few other terrain bits - my tree bases and my dark ages village. Then all I need are my two sons to volunteer to play toy soldiers with their sad old dad and my xmas will be complete.


Stuart Bannister said...

Great solution to a perennial problem, it looks really good and a great base upon which to add the terrain. I think I may try something like this myself. Thanks!

Ptr said...

Very nice blog and I like your creative projects.Keep on puclicating, I will follow you.:) Cheers/Peter

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